Let It BleedTo the Editor,
Usually I ignore animal-rights stories, but Connie Tuttle's "Animal Welfare, Animal Warfare [November 21] started out with a low hysteria level and did not get outrageous until close to the end. Many animal-rights advocates are vegetarian, not willing to acknowledge that humans are omnivorous creatures, surviving best with a varied diet including meat. I think this is due to their fuzzy outlook on the realities of nature; her warm, furry friends kill many more of their fellow creatures than all humans put together.
This story suggests that humans and animals are equivalent and should have similar rights. What isn't explained is how equivalency is to be accomplished: Lower the human or raise the animal? A basic question that all humans must ask themselves: Do I have a right to kill animals?
Actually, I don't have a problem with the basic assumption that all life deserves the right to exist, to procreate and to live to whatever level of success it is capable. However, it's obvious those rights seem to end for many animals in the jaws and claws of their predators. Dare we assume that Nature has given these predators rights exceeding those of their prey? What happens to equivalency?
Now, if animals and humans have equivalency, that means I and legions of fellow meat eaters (omnivores, actually) have a right to kill animals, same as any other predator. Here is where vegetarians might start to get upset with this logic and resort to emotional tirades, which as I said is why I ignore most animal-rights stories.
A reference is made to the teachings of Buddha, whose reverence for life is still taught after 2,500 years. The reverence I don't mind, but his logic was fuzzy then and still is today. I remember a passage from another story relating that Buddha at a young age was aghast at the sight of a bird pulling a worm from the ground. I gather that this sort of thing helped prompt him toward vegetarianism. OK, fine. Apparently, millions of humans have agreed with him. But, you know, 2,500 years later birds still pull worms from the ground. At the end of Tuttle's story, a quote on slaughtering God includes a reference to a worm as a creature containing God. Guess we will never get those darned birds to let God alone.
As to why I chose not to ignore this story: I agree that the commercial farming industry leaves too much room for abuse. It's not the killing of animals that is the problem; it's the abuse they face before they die. This may be one reason I have been an active hunger-gatherer for all my life. When a bird flushes in front of my gun, it experiences a few moments of terror, perhaps similar to what happens when it encounters one of its other predators, but not months of abuse. Members of the deer family may experience fear or pain for a while longer, but comparing my methods to my fellow animal predators', it's a good death.
Unfortunately, human population levels would not allow a return by everyone to natural methods of food gathering. We can't bring the millions of buffalo back to the heartland of America because of the millions of acres of land now growing food for meat eaters and vegetarians alike. Maybe Tuttle could get more support for her crusade against abuse if all meat eaters were required to kill and disassemble their own animal protein at least occasionally.
God may be in animals, but that doesn't mean they can't be killed and used if done correctly.
--Joseph S. Peto
Time OutTo the Editor,
After punching my time-card for the man, I got a call from my girlfriend: "Do you want to see a movie?" she asked. "No problem, baby. Let me just check out the Weekly and I'll get back to you." I cracked a beer and picked up your rag to read the movie times. Imagine my shock and horror to find nothing there. I could find out how I could meet a SWF full-figured divorcee who likes camping and candlewax. You even had the latest times to the goddamned gardening club, but no mention of when or where the latest movies were to be played. I was left feeling like a buffoon for trusting you. I was emasculated and humiliated searching around for the number for The Point Movie Line.
What the hell is wrong with you people? Let's face it: Raider's Reef, Budweiser and The Specialist Car Alarms aren't there to advertise to the mugwumps and Symbionese Liberation Army types living in the Sam Hughes neighborhood. They're there for the Joe Six-Packs trying to find their movie times.
That is the social contract this paper has made with the people of this community. You give us our movie times and comics and we will dutifully filter out all the other crap we don't like. We're happy, the intelligentsia (all 12 of them) have a venue to find out where they can go on their next eco-walk with David Yetman, the advertisers see some justification to shell out their dirty money to keep you afloat another week, which means the publisher and staff should be happy.
Now, isn't that what it's all about, after all? Making people happy? So start making us happy again and bring back the movie times!